Global military spending is accelerating. It is always disastrous and shocking in its scale. But our current experience during the pandemic crisis – of systematically underfunded health services and the human catastrophe that has unleashed – shows how truly terrible the waste of military spending actually is. The opportunity cost of every bullet, every tank, every warhead or missile, is millions of pounds or dollars that could be spent on ventilators, on PPE, on decent pay for our nurses and care staff. They are putting their lives on the line. So let’s spend our money on saving lives, not on bringing death and destruction.
CND Chair, Dave Webb, is very active in the international campaign against military spending. Below he shares the latest information about this year’s month of action:
“This year the Global Days of Action on Military Spending (GDAMS) are taking place from April 10th until May 9th. During this time peace and justice campaigners around the world will be highlighting the ridiculous and unsustainable levels of global military spending – over $1.82 trillion a year, equivalent to $239 per person every day.
The UK 2020 defence budget is £55 billion, the 7th highest in the world and over 2% of our GDP – as requested by NATO. This represents a substantial increase over previous years.
We had been warned of the possibility of a wide-spread pandemic for sometime – it was one of the first tier threats in the 2015 National Security Strategy and Strategic Defence and Security Review – but were totally unprepared for it when it happened. Meanwhile, the government is prepared to continue with Trident Replacement at an eventual total cost of over £205 billion and with the purchase of 138 F-35 jet fighters, costing £85 million each.
As the GDAMS statement, issued a day or so ago, says: “COVID-19 has shown the world where humanity’s priorities should lie. This major attack on people’s security across the world shames and discredits global military expenditures and proves them to be an outrageous waste and loss of opportunities.
For decades we have been wrong about our priorities, it’s time to (re)consider how military spending has taken a huge amount of public resources to provide a false notion of security that has nothing to do with people’s needs and rights to healthcare, education, and housing, among other essential social services.”
Military spending is costing the Earth and reallocating defence budgets would help finance an adequate response to both the coronavirus crisis and the challenge of climate change. It would assist the urgent transition toward more peaceful, just, and sustainable societies and economies.
There are a number of ways that you can participate in GDAMS 2020:
- Join the online campaign!
- Use and share GDAMS statements and infographics
- Check the resources List on the UK GDAMS websiteSign and share the IPB petition: Invest in Healthcare Instead of Militarization.
- Organise an online event or issue a press release on April 27, the day already chosen for press action in Seoul, Sydney, Berlin, Barcelona, Washington D.C, Buenos Aires, Rosario, Montevideo and Cucutá.
- Write to your MP about the issues. And ask them to support major reductions in military spending.
- Use social media to spread the word. Post a selfie with a poster saying how you would spend the money allocated to the military.